House of Representatives
9 May 1927

10th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Littleton Groom) took the chair at 11.30 a.m., and read prayers.

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The Sergeant-at-Arms announced a messenger from the Senate.

The Usher of the Black Rod was admitted, and delivered an invitation from the President of the Senate to honorable members to attend forthwith in the Senate chamber for the purpose of hearing a message from His Majesty the King, which HisRoyal Highness the Duke of York had been commissioned to deliver to the Parliament.

Mr. Speaker and honorable members attended accordingly, and having returned,

Sitting suspended from 11.57 a.m. to 5.5 p.m.


– I have to inform the House that, in compliance with the invitation thatcame from the President of the Senate, I, attended by honorable members, proceeded to the Senate chamber, and there heard a message from His Majesty the King. For greater accuracy, I obtained a copy of the message (vide page 6).

Prime Minister · Flinders · NAT

[5.71. - I am sure that it is the desire ofhonorable members that we should transmit to His Majesty the King our appreciation of the gracious message conveyed to this Parliament by His Royal Highness the Duke of York. I, therefore, move -

That the following’ message be transmitted to His Majesty theKing: -

To the King’s Mostexcellent Majesty :

Mostgracious Sovereign -

Id assuring Tour Majesty of the loyalty and devotion of the people of Australia to Tour Throne and Person, the House of Representatives desires to thankYour Majesty far your most gracious message on the occasion of theestablishment of the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth at Canberra. It recalls with pride and affection the important part Your Majesty took when the FederalParliament was opened in Melbourne twenty-six years ago to-day, and expresses its deep gratitude for the active and continued interest which Tour Majesty has been pleased to take in all that affects the common weal of the people Of this Dominion. It will be long treasured as a mark of Tour special favour that Tour Majesty should have honored Australia by commissioning your beloved son,HisRoyal Highness the Duke of York, to perform the official act for the establishment of the Seat of Government, of the Commonwealth in its own Territory.


– I second the motion.. Question resolved in the affirmative.

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– I have to inform honorable members that, on Tuesday, 26th of April, at Federal Parliament House, Melbourne, His Royal Highness the Duke of York, on behalf of His Majesty the King, was graciously pleased to deliver to me, on your behalf, a personal gift from His Majesty. The present, took the form of two handsome despatch-boxes, replicas of the historic boxes on the table of the House of Commons. On your behalf I accepted them, feeling sure that you would regard the gift as a signal manifestation of His Majesty’s deep personal interest in this House, and would treasure it as a further connecting link between the House of Commons and this House. I directed that the two boxes be placed on the table, following the practice of the House of Commons.

Prime Minister · Flinders · NAT

.- The gift which His Majesty has been pleased to send to this House to mark this historic occasion is deeply appreciated by honorable members, who, I am confident, sir, endorse the action you have taken, and re-echo the sentiments you have expressed. I move -

That this House desires to express its sincere gratitude to His Majesty the King for his historic gift to this Parliament, which will be jealously preserved, not only as an expression of His Majesty’s deep personal interest in this House, but as a further connecting link with the Motherof Parliaments.


– I second the motion. Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Prime Minister · Flinders · NAT

– I move -

That the following address to HisRoyal Highness the Duke of York be approved by this House : -

To His Royal Highness the Duke or York, Knight of the Most Noble Order or the Garter, Knight or the Most Ancient add Most Noble Orderof the Thistle, Knight Grand Crossof the Most Distinguished Oboes or Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Crossof the Royal Victorian Order.

May it please Your Royal Highness:

We, the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia in Parliament assembled, express to Your Royal Highness our duty and loyalty to the Crown and Person of our Most Gracious Sovereign.

We offer to you and Her Royal Highness on behalf of the people of Australia a warm welcome. We feel sure that your visit will serve to strengthen still further the tics of kinship and affection which bind this country with Britain and the Empire. Our citizens deeply appreciate the further opportunity of personal contact with the members of Your Royal House which your presence amongst us affords.

We recall with pride the visit to Australia of His Majesty the King beforehis accession to the Throne, when he was graciously pleased to openin person the inaugural session of the Australian Parliament. We remember with feelings of deep gratification the later visit by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Wo rejoice that on the occasion of the establishment ofthe permanent Seat of Government of the Commonwealth at Canberra it has been your gracious pleasure to open the new Parliamentary buildings.

This ceremony which is the object of your long and arduous mission to these shores is one of great significance to the people of Australia, It is the culmination of a series of important events in the history of our Commonwealth, marking the progress of our country, the unity of our people, and their loyalty to the Throne.

We earnestly trust that your sojourn among us has given happiness and pleasure to Your Royal Highnesses. Your association with our citizens on this historic occasion will be a source of inspiration to. our people in the achievement of their destiny within the British Empire.

I am sure that the sentiments contained in the address will be endorsed by every honorable member. We have welcomed the visit of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York, which culminated to-day in the impressive and historic ceremony in this building. We all are gratified that His Majesty was pleased to permit his beloved son to be present on this occasion to assist in establishing Canberra as the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. The Duke and Duchess have endeared themselves to the whole of our people. Wherever they have gone they have been received . with spontaneous enthusiasm. The welcome that has been accorded to them must have convinced them of the loyalty of ourpeople and their devotion to the Royal House.


.- I am pleased to have the honour and privilege of supporting the motion. The words which have fallen from the lips of the right honorable the Prime Minister respecting TheirRoyal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York are appropriate to this historic occasion. It was proper that we should have a member of the Royal Family to open the new house of Parliament in this new capital city. Their presence here today indicated that the King is keenly interested in the affairs of this great dominion. His Majesty himself visited Australia very early in our federal history and opened the first Commonwealth Parliament, and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of this Parliament House at Canberra. We are glad that the Royal Family shows this continued interest in Australia.

The ceremony performed to-day was of the greatest importance. Effect has now been given to that provision of the Constitution which required the establishment of the Seat of Government in a truly Federal Capital. Henceforth the legislation and administration of the Commonwealth will radiate from this historic spot. Let us hope that the legislation to be passed in this building will be such as will ensure a continuance of our present peaceful international relations, and bringin a new era of peace, contentment, and prosperity for the people of Australia. Now that this Parliament has been removed from parochial influences we shall be able to make still greater endeavours to develop our country on truly national lines. Smalland local mutters should be left to other legislative bodies.

In this hour of satisfaction at the transfer of the national Parliament to Canberra, I trust that we shall not forget the work towards the consummation of the federation of the Australian States done by many who have now passed away. The noble efforts of those pioneers have been recorded in the pages of our history, but it is fitting that we should call them to mind on this great day. As representative men we should strive to develop this country on sane and safe lines, but at a faster pace than hitherto, so that we may not only maintain our

White Australia, but largely increase the white population within our shores. If we do this we shall do a great work.

I believe that the motion which the Prime Minister has moved will have the enthusiastic support of every member of this Chamber, and alsoof every person within hearing of my voice. I am sure also that the whole of the Australian people will endorse our approval of it. I trust that Their Royal Highnesses will continue to enjoy good health, and that they and the whole of their party will return to their homes safely and well. Their tour has done much to cement the good feeling between our people find those of the Motherland. Irrespective of anything that appears in the newspapers here or on the other side of the world, Their Royal Highnesses may -rest assured that the Australian people are distinctly loyal to the head of the Empire.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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Assent to the following bills reported : -


Commonwealth Inscribed Stock 1027.


States Grant,

Supply (No. 1).

Dried Fruits Export Charges.

Loan (No. 1).

Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration. Judiciary.

Wine Export Bounty.

Invalid and Old-age Pensions Appropriation. States Loan.

Pearl-shell Overseas Marketing.

Pearl-shellExport Charges.

Wire and Wire-netting.

Petroleum Prospecting.

War Service Homes.

Supplementary Appropriation 1924-25.

Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) 1924-25.

Supplementary Appropriation 1025-20.

Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) 1025-20.

Fresh Fruits Overseas Marketing.

Fresh Fruits Export Charges.

Victorian Parliament House Memorial.

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Issue of Writ

Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. Sir Littleton

Groom) . - I have to announce that, during the adjournment, I received from the Honorable Sir GranvilleRyrie a letter, dated 13th April, resigning his seat as member for the electoral division of

Warringah. On the 26th April I issued a writ for the election of a new member to serve that division. The dates in connexion with the election have been fixed as follows: - Issue of writ, Tuesday, 26th April, 1927 ; nomination, Wednesday, 11th May, 1927; polling, Saturday, 21st May, 1927; return of writ, on or before Friday, 3rd June, 1927.

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Motion (by Mr. Bruce) (by leave) agreed to -

That leave of absence bo given to every member of the House of Representatives from the determination of this sitting of the House to the date of its next sitting.

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Motion (by Mr. Bruce) proposed - That the House at its rising adjourn until a date and hour to be fixed by Mr. Speaker, which time shall bo notified by Mr. Speaker to each member by telegram or letter.

East Sydney

.- I should like the Prime Minister to give honorable members some idea of the date upon which the House will re-assemble. It has seemed like one long adjournment since this Government has been in office.

North Sydney

– I, too, desire information as to the probable date of re-assembling, and I ask the Prime Minister when replying to indicate the nature of the measures we shall then be asked to consider. Parliament has now taken up its abode in its new home, but if its recent unhappy practice of meeting for a few days and then adjourning for several months is to be persisted in we might just as well be anywhere else. Considering the favorable auspices under which Parliament has met to-day, I can see no reason why we should not at once begin the good work of which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) has so eloquently spoken. It was not by closing Parliament that the work of building up this young nation was done. The foundation stones of our national life have been well and truly laid, but there is much work still to be done. While I shall not pretend for one moment that I am so passionately addicted to work as to unduly oppose the motion for adjournment for a period of unknown length, I most certainly should like the Prime

Minister to tell us that he does not intend the adjournment to be unduly prolonged. About sixteen months of the term of this Parliament has expired; during that period, it has been in session for about four months. If in the next twenty months our sittings are only in the same proportion, we. shall have some difficulty in giving to our constituents a satisfactory account of our stewardship. I suggest to the right honorable gentleman ‘that he should consider this matter from the stand-point of Parliament. This country would be better governed, and our legislation would be more calculated to promote the prosperity of the country, if we sat more regularly, and if, on being called together at infrequent intervals, we were not obliged to work at high pressure, the Government forcing through legislation almost at the point of the bayonet. That method is not characteristic of a deliberative assembly, as I


.- I desire to supplement the remarks of the right honorable member for North Sydney. I am curious, firstly, as to when we shall be called together again; and, secondly, as to what business we shall be asked to transact when we do re- assemble. What ore the intentions of the Government in regard to the special session, of which we have heard so much, to consider amendments of the Constitution, some of which I consider vital to the good government of Australia?

Mr. BRUCE (Flinders- Prime Minister [5.32]. - Before this House adjourned from Melbourne to Canberra, the Leader of the Opposition, speaking on the Supply Bill, dealt exhaustively with the date of re-assembling after this formal meeting to-day. The Government then indicated that it proposed to call Parliament together as soon as possible after the necessary departments could be transferred to Canberra to enable Parliament to function here. Our conduct in this matter is governed, firstly, by the fact that Supply was granted by Parliament for only a limited period ; and, secondly, by the desire of the Government to proceed with the programme of legislation which it put before the people at the time of the general election. Upon a more appropriate occasion, I shall be able to deal convincingly with the points raised by the right honorable member for North Sydney in regard to the period for which this Parliament has been in session since I have been the Leader of the Government. As to the programme of legislation to be dealt with when Parliament does re-assemble, the Government will continue to give effect to the policy submitted to the country, and trusts that it will have the support of the House in so doing.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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The following papers were pre sented : -

High Commissioner of the Commonwealth in the United Kingdom - Report for 1926.

Transport in Australia - Report (Volume II.) by Sir George Buchanan on Transport in Australia, with special reference to Port and Harbour Facilities.

Ordered to be printed.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act-Deter minations by the Arbitrator, Sea. -

No. 2 of 1927 - Association of Draughtsmen, Public Service

Nos. 4 and5 of 1927 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

Nos. 6, 7, 8, and9 of 1927 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 10 of 1927 - Amalgamated Postal Workers’ Union of Australia.

No. 11 of 1927 - Arms, Explosives, and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.

Audit Act - Transfers of Amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1926-27. Dated 12th April, 1927.

Australian War Memorial Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 29.

Commonwealth Bank Act- Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1927, No. 27.

Customs Act- Proclamation, dated 17th February, 1927, prohibiting the exportation, except under certain conditions, of Wine.

New Guinea - Ordinances of 1927 -

No.9 - Customs Tariff.

No. 10 - Extradition.

No. 11 - Fugitive Offenders (Jurisdiction).

No. 12 - Appropriation (No. 2) 1926-27.

No. 13- Fisheries.

No. 14 - Laws Repeal and Adopting.

No. 15 - Police Offences.

Northern Australia Act - Advisory Coun cils Election Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 30.

PublicService Act - Appointments - Department of Works and Railways- .

Science and Industry Research Act - Regulations Amended- Statutory Rules 1927, No. 38.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act- Ordinance of 1927 - No. 4 - Interpretation.

Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 25.

Spirits Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1927, No. 28.

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australiancommon wealthline of

Steamers: Public Accounts Committee’s Report - Leakage of Information - Canberra Survey

Prime Minister · Flinders · NAT

– I move -

That the House do now adjourn.

The Public Accounts Committee had intended to present its report on the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, but as the Leader of the Opposition intimated to me that his supporters were strongly of the opinion that nothing of a controversial nature should be dealt with during this formal and ceremonial meeting, I willingly assented to his suggestion that the report be not tabled to-day, as this might be regarded by honorable members as a breach of that understanding.


– The newspapers in the various capital cities have published inspired statements that the Government proposes to sell the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, in accordance with the recommendations alleged to be contained in the report of the Public AccountsCommittee. That sort of propaganda by the shipping combine should be resisted. I have the greatest respect for the members of the Public Accounts Committee, and I do not suggest that any one of them furnished that information to the press. I understand that the Prime Minister is inquiring into leakages of information from anothercommittee. The proceedings of the Accounts Committee are equally important, and . I hope that steps will be taken to prevent inopportune and irregular disclosures of confidential information in future.


– In the course of conversation, with Sir George Fuller to-day, I learned that he had received information of the discovery of thefirst peg driven in connexion with the inaugural survey of the base Hue of our new Federal Capital City. I suggest that the peg should be preserved in either the Parliamentary Library or the National Museum, and that steps should be taken to mark the spot from which it was taken.


.- Having been at one time chairman of the Accounts Committee, I know that it has power to allow press representatives to be present during the taking of evidence ; but I understand that, in connexion with the inquiry into the Commonwealth Shipping Line, the evidence was taken in camera, because it was considered injudicious to give any publicity to the proceedings before the report was formally presented to Parliament. The Prime Minister should, on behalf of the House, take steps to ensure that confidential information in the possession of any committee is not improperly disclosed. An inquiry should be instituted at once to ascertain who was responsible for divulging information obtained by the Public Accounts Committee in camera. Any member of a committee who discloses information confidentially obtained acts unfairly to the committee and to the House. Parliament should be able to deliberate upon the reports of its committees free of any atmosphere or influence created. by the press.

Prime Minister · Flinders · NAT

– I shall inquire into the matter mentioned by the honorable member for Lang, and see what action can be taken.

As to what bos been said regarding the contents of committee reports being published before they have been made available in proper form, I agree that such disclosures are a serious matter, and I shall take every -step possible to ascertain how some of the leakages of confidential information which have recently occurred took place. It is incumbent upon me, however, to say, in fairness to our public servants, that the inquiries which have already been made into some of these cases, show that our officers are particularly loyal and act with very great discretion. The result of these investigations so far has established that there has been no leakage due to the disloyalty or indiscretion of members of the Public Service.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at5.43 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 May 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.